Freddie and Frieda Falcon unmasked

They are at many of the home sporting events cheering on the athletes and giving them support. They toss out candy to the screaming fans and give high-fives to the little kids. They are covered in fur and have a large beak. Who are they?

They are Freddie and Frieda Falcon, the Bowling Green mascots.

Saturday their masks were removed at the men’s basketball and hockey games and everyone learned who has behind all of the laughter and fun.

Mike Orlando and Dan Kozlowski have been parading around as Freddie for the past year, while Megan Manley and Sherry Johnson have been Frieda.

“I love Bowling Green, I’ve always loved being involved and I always saw the mascots and thought, how fun would that be,” Manley said. “I talked to a couple of them and realized that they were just amazing people and realized that it was something amazing I wanted to be involved with just for general support.

Being a mascot people never fail to smile when you are around.”

Each Falcon got their spirit in a different way.

Orlando got his start on the Falcon spirit team, which was an organization designed to create spirit in the University. He was the student involvement coordinator.

“I really enjoyed that,” Orlando said. “But I’ve always been looking for different ways to get involved here and create tradition at the University. I consider this to be one of the biggest traditions at Bowling Green, so this is something I always wanted to do.”

However, becoming one of the mascots is a lot harder than it might appear.

“It was a huge process,” Orlando said. “I think I had four or five interviews.”

The quest to find this year’s mascots began last spring.

It all started with a simple application, which can be picked up in room 301 of the Union and is due March 21 this year. In order to apply to become a mascot students must have at least a 2.5 grade point average.

Those who apply have to be really spirited and committed to the job if they get it because it is volunteer, so the mascots are not paid.

“It’s all for the pride, but it’s a blast,” Manley said. “Try out if you truly love BG and bringing happiness, but don’t do it for the money because their is none.”

The previous year’s mascots interview the applicants and either call them for an interview or send them an e-mail explaining that their application did not make it to the second round.

The first interview is about 20 minutes since their are so many applicants. Last year over 100 people applied for the position.

“It goes through a series of different interviews where you are tested on your creativity, creative imagining, how you can think quick on your feet and just different kinds of things you would do if you were Freddie or Frieda Falcon,” Orlando said. “They would put you in different scenarios, kind of like role playing.”

After a month of interviews and going through the application process the four Falcons are finally selected.

Then the fun begins.

“The previous birds tell you as much as they can,” Manley said.

“We went to cheerleading camp this summer, which was a lot of fun. We got to work a lot with skits and music and practice lifts with the cheerleaders. They give you a little bit of help, but it’s kind of trial and error.”

The mascots are required to be at football, basketball, volleyball and hockey and they usually rotate between the four, going to every other event. Visits to the other events are scheduled by the mascots advisor, Michael Ginsburg.

Each Falcon must also attend at least one or two away games along with spreading cheer at home games, but the four Falcons must work together to coordinate who will attend each event.

“We work as a team and make it as fair as possible,” Orlando said. “We split up the sporting events as much as possible. We pretty much help each other out based on our different schedules.”

The mascots also made it a commitment to put on the costumes and go out once a week.

“It’s a huge time commitment,” Orlando said. “We would get bombarded with commitments because everyone wants Freddie and Frieda at their event or photo shoot or for advertising or coming to meetings for dance marathons. We’ve had two or three games every weekend, so pretty much all of your weekends fill up.”

Besides taking up a lot of time it also takes time away from their friends since they cannot tell anyone who they are.

“It’s pretty hard to get around your friends,” Orlando said. “It’s really hard keeping it a secret.”

“You have to learn to lie pretty well,” Manley said. “At first it’s kind of hard, but it’s scary how good you get at it after a while. It’s kind of fun, but it’s hard keeping it a secret. You just want to burst.”